New products, new distribution centre and new marketing push: how Waitrose plans to win back Ocado customers

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Waitrose has begun a hefty campaign to convert customers from Ocado to its Waitrose.com, site as it ends its partnership with the food delivery company.

The supermarket, which will officially split with the online grocer at the end of August, is desperate to hold on to – and win back – as many Ocado customers as possible in particular, the large proportion who shop for Waitrose own label products.

To do this, Waitrose has already invested millions of pounds in its preparation for the exit, including the investment in a brand-new food innovation centre and distribution centres, and is now revealing the launch of a multi-channel marketing campaign. 

Having expanded rapidly in recent months, Waitrose.com is on track to treble its size to become a £1bn business in its own right by the end of the year. This has been accelerated by increasing demand through Covid-19, with Waitrose able to increase its capacity by around 50 percent to offer 160,000 delivery slots each week – thanks in part to opening a new fulfilment centre in Enfield, which has doubled the supermarket’s online orders. A third* CFC in Greenford is set to follow later.

The supermarket has not rested on its laurels in the new product design department either. As part of its multi-million pound investment, the supermarket’s revamped food innovation centre at its Bracknell headquarters has seen the recent development of 5,000 new or reformulated products. This equates to nearly a third of the 14,000 to 17,000 own-label products sold under its well-known brands including Duchy Organic, essential Waitrose and Waitrose No. 1.

Martin George, Customer Director at Waitrose & Partners, comments: “Waitrose own label products have historically made up a quarter of Ocado’s grocery sales, so we know a lot of people who use the service love our products, are loyal to our brand and are keen to avoid any disruption. With that in mind, we have focused on retaining and reformulating our customers’ favourite products as well as developing thousands of new ones – all of which are sure to entice them to Waitrose.com.

Talking about Waitrose.com’s heritage and proposition in the digital market, Martin George continues: “Waitrose.com is already well established in the market, having run for two decades and already delivering to nearly 90% of postcodes across the country. The service has also been growing rapidly in recent months thanks to the increased capacity from our new customer fulfillment centres, and we’re excited for Waitrose.com to now be the only place for the public to buy our range of 17,000 unique Waitrose own label products online.”

A spokesperson for Adam & Eve commented: “We wanted to raise awareness of Waitrose’s Ocado split in good humour. And, of course, leave people in no doubt that all the products they love from Waitrose are now only available at their stores or at Waitrose.com.”

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